Wowzers! Allergy season was late this year, but when it arrived it certainly made itself known.
This year my worst problem is my eyes. Last year it started feeling like my eyes had sand in them, so I asked the eye doctor and he gave me some saline drops that helped a bit. But this year, my vision has gone a bit blurred. At first, I thought it was pollen dust on my glasses (and it was) but now, it's like my eyes have a fine film of pollen dust on them.
A cold compress made with an astringent herb is often used for inflamed eyes accompanying hay fever. One of my favorite astringent herbs is geranium root. Adding some Calendula would also be beneficial. Any astringent herb can be used as long as it will not cause irritation to the sensitive skin around the eyes. You will find the mix of these two herbs will decrease the irritation, inflammation and edema. I suggest using it a minimum of 3 times per day.
A compress or fomentation is simple to make and use. Technically it is a cloth soaked in hot or cold water, or other fluids such as herb tea, herbal vinegar or herbal oil and applied to the skin. It is truly as simple as that. To make a simple herbal tea compress, use a strong herbal infusion or decoction as necessary for that particular herb. In regards to the two herbs I just mentioned, you would want to decoct the Geranium for 20 minutes minimum and at the end of the decoction infuse the calendula in the same tea water for an additional 15-30 minutes. Make enough tea to soak the cloth thoroughly. Remember to cool the tea down before using it. Teas will "go bad" just as food will, so make the tea anew when you need to use it. Only freshly made and cooled teas should be used on the eyes as they can get infected easily from tea that has bacteria growing in it. In this case we are cooling the tea as we want to shrink the tissues. Cold will help to move fluid (edema) out of the tissues while heat will draw it in. Alternating hot and cold soaks could also be used ending with cold, but the cold compress tea by itself will work great.
If you want to make one batch of tea for the day, that is ok, but only if you divide it up into the portions you will be using. Do not, take the whole tea out of the refrigerator and soak the cloth in the tea and after using the cloth on your eyes, put the used cloth back in the tea again. This will contaminate the tea. (You probably would not do this, but I have seen people get infections in their eyes from such activities.)
I have made three recent posts on my blog regarding hay fever and will be adding a fourth very soon. You might check it out for ideas. It is way to long to post here.
May You Walk in Beauty,
Sharol Tilgner ND
Sharol's books available at website
Itchy eyes are the worst part of seasonal allergies, even worse than not being able to breathe if you ask me! Allergies may well be the reason I first started to be interested in herbalism. Herbalist 7Song recommended Ragweed tincture (preflowering herb) as an herbal remedy for any type 1 hypersensitivity/ allergic reaction. It was quite effective. Between it and Red Clover and diet changes, Spring is now a whole new world for me. This year's tincture blend I have 2 parts red clover, 1 part ragweed, 1 part goldenrod, 1/3 part lobelia and 1/3 part licorice root. It is my favorite thus far.
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